Posters of the 43 missing students on a statue in the state capital. Chilpancingo, Guerrero. March 5, 2015.
UNTIL WE FIND YOU
On September 26, 2014, students of the Ayotzinapa Teachers College traveled to the city of Iguala, Guerrero to commandeer buses, a common protest tactic used by social organizations in Mexico. As they left the city, they were hunted down by police who left 25 students wounded and 3 dead. In the following days it became clear that the police had also “disappeared” 43 students. They have not been seen since.
For the families and classmates of the missing, the following days and weeks marked the beginning of an odyssey that has yet to end. Though the case became a national symbol for corruption and mass Drug War violence, the Mexican government's investigation has been marked by contradictions and charges of coverup. In January 2015, the Mexican Attorney General closed the case based on the theory that the students had been turned over to members of the Guerreros Unidos cartel and incinerated at a dump the night they were detained. The account has since been rejected as “impossible" by a group of international experts that the Inter-American Human Rights Commission appointed to evaluate the Mexican government's inquiry.
This series is the result of months spent with the community that is still reeling from this disappearance. Since September 26, 2014, torment and uncertainty have consumed the families and friends of the missing. Holding out hope, they continue to search for their loved ones alive, and promise to continue "hasta encontrarte." Until I find you.
Citizen search organized by families of the missing students in the hills outside Iguala. Huahuautla, Guerrero. January 16, 2016.
Site of the attacks at Juan N. Álvarez and Periférico Norte in the city of Iguala. Crosses on the ground mark where two Ayotzinapa students, Daniel Solís Gallardo and Julio César Ramírez Nava, were shot. Parents of the 43 missing students have posted phone numbers to call “if you know anything about our sons.” Iguala, Guerrero. February 13, 2015.
Romana, mother of 33-year-old missing student José Ángel Campos Cantor. Tixtla, Guerrero. March 2, 2015.
The family of missing student Julio César López Patolzin celebrates his 25th birthday. His aunt and niece hold each other as a group of musicians plays his favorite songs. Tixtla, Guerrero. January 29, 2015.
Felipe de La Cruz, the father of a student who survived the Iguala attacks, speaks at a rally for the missing students five months after their disappearance. Mexico City. February 26, 2015.
Epifanio Álvarez Carbajal and Blanca Luz Nava Vélez, parents of missing Ayotzinapa student Jorge Álvarez Nava, rest on the bus during a week of marching and organizing in Mexico City. Three days later, the Mexican Attorney General controversially closed the Ayotzinapa case. January 24, 2015.
Oscar, brother of missing student Abel García Hernández, and Mayra, aunt of missing student Christian Alfonso Rodríguez Telumbre, march together on the five month anniversary of the disappearance. Mexico City. February 26, 2015.
A banner with the faces of the 43 missing students hangs at the entrance to the Fortín neighborhood in Tixtla, the town where the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College is located. It reads, “Tixtla and El Fortín support the families of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students. They took them alive, we want them back alive!” Tixtla, Guerrero. February 6, 2015.
A relative holds Gaby, the baby daughter of missing student José Ángel Campos Cantor. A portrait of him hangs on the wall behind her. His other daughter, America, is 8 years old. Tixtla, Guerrero. March 19, 2015.
Mural of a young Lucio Cabañas at the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College, where the 43 missing students were studying. Cabañas was a student leader at the school during the 1960s and went on to form a guerrilla group called the Party of the Poor. According to historian Alexander Aviña, he was “part of a broader post-1940 generation of teachers and students who protested the PRI government’s authoritarian bent and its inequitable model of capitalist development.” He died in a shootout with the army in 1974. Tixtla, Guerrero. February 11, 2015.
Ayotzinapa students confront a police blockade on the road to the state capital of Chilpancingo. Tixtla, Guerrero. June 3, 2015.
Police intercept relatives and classmates of the 43 missing students, who were calling for a boycott of the state elections, to stop them from staging a radical protest in Chilpancingo, Guerrero. June 3, 2015.
Funeral of Antonio Vivar Díaz, a 28-year-old teacher and local activist in the movement for the 43 missing students. Vivar Díaz was shot by a policeman in Tlapa during a confrontation between police and protesters on state election day. Tlapa, Guerrero. June 9, 2015.
The family of Antonio Vivar Diaz, a 28-year-old teacher and local activist in the movement for the 43 missing students, welcomes a delegation from Ayotzinapa to his wake in the city of Tlapa. Vivar Diaz was shot by a policeman in Tlapa during a confrontation between police and protesters on state election day. Tlapa, Guerrero. June 9, 2015.
The number 43 lights up a family's rooftop in Tixtla, Guerrero. Tixtla is home to the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College and 14 of its missing students. February 1, 2015.